And though that much is obvious from the name, transplants to Utah may not be aware of state’s unique pioneer history and why a holiday that passes largely unnoticed by the other 49 states is a big deal here.
On July 24, 1847, Brigham Young and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints arrived at the Great Salt Lake Valley after being forced from Nauvoo, Illinois due to religious persecution. According to records, Brigham Young viewed the valley from Emigration Canyon and said, “this is the right place. Drive on.”
The Salt Lake Valley was a welcome sight after the grueling trek across the country and through the Rocky Mountains that claimed many lives.
The settlers wasted no time in planting crops and building, and by the end of the year, roughly 2,000 people had settled in the valley, according to the Library of Congress’ Digital Collections. Tens of thousands of Latter-Day Saints from locations around the world would travel to Utah on the same or similar routes in the following years.
Today, Utahns remember the values of persistence and hard work of the pioneers who settled Utah, on Pioneer Day.